1. Backers of SB 6, the so-called "bathroom bill," have downplayed the likelihood that passage of the legislation would harm the business community in Texas.
But the San Antonio Express-News is reporting that just the threat of passage of the bill is already doing that very thing.
San Antonio has already lost out on potential convention business because of fears the bill will become law, the newspaper states, and it faces threats of contract cancellations for conventions that have already signed up.
The United Legislative Committee opposes SB 6, both because it is discriminatory and because it threatens good jobs in Texas. The measure is set for hearing before the Senate State Affairs Committee at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 7, in Room E1.012 of the Capitol:
Three groups - with meetings estimated to bring $3.1 million in total spending - no longer are considering the Alamo City for their events because of a bill prohibiting transgender Texans from using bathrooms tied to their gender identity, said Richard Oliver, spokesman for Visit San Antonio, the former Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Another eight conventions already booked for upcoming events in San Antonio have threatened to pull out should the legislation pass, taking with them a projected $19.9 million economic impact that includes spending by convention-goers on area hotel rooms, meals and attractions, he said.
Oliver declined to name the conventions that passed over San Antonio or the gatherings that plan to uproot themselves if state lawmakers pass the bill, but said convention organizers regularly express concern about the legislation.
"Everyone has their radars up regarding this issue," Oliver said.
Civil rights groups and U.S. business leaders see Senate Bill 6 as discriminatory and a threat to civil rights. The proposed law would require transgender men and women to use bathrooms corresponding with their birth sex in public buildings. It would withhold state funding from local governments that try to circumvent the state law.
Read more: http://www.expressnews.com/business/local/article/Texas-bathroom-bill-already-costing-San-Antonio-10973360.php?t=aa86bd35199c7a2f4f&cmpid=twitter-premium
2. I don't know of many journalists who have as much knowledge of the union movement as Mike Elk, who has written for various publications over the years and now has a weekly electronic labor newsletter.
Elk is not hesitant to call out labor unions when he can marshal evidence they have gone astray, but he fundamentally believes in the virtues of workers speaking up together for better lives.
I'm proud to pass along Elk's take on the recent Democratic National Committee Chair election. The AFL-CIO endorsed a superb labor friend, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, for the post. Ellison was edged out by Tom Perez, the outstanding Labor Secretary under President Obama. Ellison accepted Perez's invitation to become Deputy Chair.
The AFL-CIO remains on great terms with Perez. The endorsement of Ellison occurred before Perez had formally entered the contest. Before the DNC election, Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick, a DNC member who voted for Ellison in both rounds of voting, referred to Ellison as candidate "1-A" and Perez as candidate "1-B." After the result was in, Patrick said he strongly supports Perez and believes the labor movement will not miss a beat in working with him.